800 MW Vineyard Wind I Offshore Project Completes BOEM Environmental Assessment
The United States Office of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed the environmental scan of the proposed Vineyard Wind I offshore wind project. This represents a major step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of accelerating the responsible development of renewable energy on public lands and waters as a key part of tackling the climate crisis and creating ‘jobs.
“The United States is on its way to becoming a world leader in clean energy,” said Laura Daniel Davis, Deputy Senior Under Secretary – Land and Minerals Management. “To fully realize the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind, we must work together to ensure that any potential development progresses with strong stakeholder awareness and scientific integrity.”
Vineyard Wind is proposing what is expected to be the first project developed in its concession area, an 800 MW wind power project off the coast of Massachusetts. The proposed project would be located approximately 12 nautical miles off Martha’s Vineyard and 12 nautical miles off Nantucket in the northern part of the Vineyard Wind concession area.
“The development of energy at sea gives us the opportunity to work with tribal nations, communities and other ocean users to ensure that all decisions are transparent and use the best available science,” said BOEM director Amanda Lefton. “We appreciate everyone’s participation in the process and look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders on the future analysis of offshore wind projects. “
Later this week, BOEM will publish a notice of availability for the final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the Federal Register, which analyzes the potential environmental impacts of making the decision to build and operate Vineyard Wind.
On June 12, 2020, following comments received during the National Environmental Policy Act process and in coordination with cooperating agencies, the draft EIA was completed with additional analysis. Other areas of analysis included the reasonably foreseeable effects of an expanded cumulative activity scenario for offshore wind development, previously unavailable fishery data, a new transit route alternative, and changes since the publication of the draft EIA of the proposed project.
After a 45-day comment period and five virtual public meetings, BOEM incorporated the comments received on the draft EIA and additional analysis into the final EIS.
BOEM is working with the appropriate parties to finalize the Section 106 process, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, and to issue a decision report to approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications the proposed project.
The US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service will sign this Joint Decision Report for their respective licensing decisions. The final environmental impact statement is available at https://www.boem.gov/vineyard-wind.
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